A well-equipped home/garage gym needs a mirror and choosing the right one is crucial. Whether you’re lifting weights or practicing yoga, a gym mirror plays a vital role in monitoring your form and progress. This gym mirror guide will provide you with essential information to make an informed decision when selecting a mirror for your home gym.
There are 6 key factors you have to think about when shopping for a workout mirror:
- Budget and cost
- Type and material
- Safety and durability
- Reflective quality
Keep reading to find the details of these factors.
1. Budget and Home Workout Mirror Cost
First, set your budget. Be realistic about what gym mirrors cost and what you can afford. When buying gym mirrors it can be hard to get carried away or penny-pinch in the wrong place.
Gym mirrors come in various price ranges, and while it’s important to invest in quality and safety, it’s also essential to find a mirror that fits within your budget. And if you’re still wondering if you actually need a workout mirror, here’s an article that outlines why you do.
The amount of money you want to/can spend might be more than enough for a nice mirror but maybe you’ll have to make some compromises.
Just so you have an idea of how much it’s going to cost here is what you can expect to pay for some popular types of home gym mirrors.
For a single high-quality mirror that’s suitable for a workout room, expect to pay about $500.
- Standard Glass Mirrors: The cost of standard glass mirrors typically ranges from $5 to $15 per square foot.
- Safety Mirrors: Safety mirrors, made of tempered glass or acrylic, are generally priced higher than standard glass mirrors. The cost per square foot for safety mirrors can range from $10 to $30.
- Frameless Mirrors: In a home gym you can get away with framed mirrors but frameless mirrors like in most commercial gyms are better but you can expect to pay more than the framed standard glass or safety mirrors.
- Mirror Tiles: Using multiple smaller tiles (usually 12”x12”) is a cheaper way of making large mirrors that is available from $5 per square foot.
- Custom or Specialty Mirrors: Custom-made or specialty mirrors often come with a higher price tag due to the unique specifications and features involved. The cost per square foot for custom mirrors can range from $20 to $100 or more, depending on complexity.
2. Pick the Right Type of Mirror
Next, pick which type of workout mirror is right for you.
Above you can already find some of the common types of mirrors that are used for workout rooms but there are a few more. You probably should choose one of the ones above but here is a quick rundown of all the types and their benefits. Or click here for an in-depth explanation of gym mirror types.
- Standard framed glass mirrors: Can be bought cheap but are usually not the right dimensions.
- Safety mirrors (framed): Same as framed glass mirrors but are harder to break and don’t create sharp shards when broken. Often safety mirrors have a safety backing that prevents the mirror from completely falling apart.
- Frameless glass mirrors: Normal glass mirrors but without a frame. More expensive than framed mirrors but better for workout purposes.
- Frameless safety mirrors: The same as above but with safety glass.
- Mirror tiles: Smaller 12” x 12” or 24” x 24” mirror tiles. These are usually cheaper per square foot but you’ll have many seams breaking up the reflection.
- Portable mirrors: These come in a frame on wheels. Easy to move around if you use the space for other activities as well.
- Specialty mirrors: Mirrors made to order in the exact size/shape you want. Gives you exactly what you want but is expensive.
- Smart gym mirrors: Some mirrors have screens built in that are only visible when turned on. These screens can show workouts to follow along with or a direct connection to a personal trainer. This type of mirror tends to be very expensive.
It’s also good to be aware of the different materials gym mirrors can be made out of:
- Standard glass: Affordable and provides a clear reflection.
- Tempered glass: Glass treated to break into small, relatively harmless pieces when broken. More expensive than standard glass but otherwise very similar.
- Acrylic or polycarbonate: Lightweight, cheaper, and hard to break but is easier to scratch and has less clarity of reflection. Can also be damaged by some glass cleaning products.
In most cases, frameless safety mirrors made from tempered glass are the best. A cheaper (and lighter) option is a frameless acrylic/polycarbonate mirror.
3. Gym Mirror Thickness
The thickness is actually something fairly important to look at for a workout mirror:
- Safety and Durability: Thicker mirrors are generally more robust and less prone to breakage compared to thinner mirrors. Thicker mirrors with tempered glass are recommended for maximum safety and durability.
- Vibrations and Distortions: Thicker mirrors don’t bend as quickly. That means a more realistic reflection. This is especially important for acrylic mirrors. If you drop heavy weights, thicker mirrors also vibrate less. Vibrations can cause visual distortions. This goes for both glass and other materials.
- Weight and Mounting: Thicker mirrors are heavier, which can impact the ease of installation and mounting. It’s important to ensure that the chosen wall or support structure can safely accommodate the weight of the mirror. Additionally, thicker mirrors may require stronger mounting hardware to ensure stability.
- Cost: Thicker mirrors are more expensive than thinner ones. If budget is a concern, opting for a thinner mirror may be a more cost-effective choice, provided it meets your safety requirements.
- Visual Appearance: Thicker mirrors can have a more substantial and high-quality appearance, giving your gym a polished and professional look. Thinner mirrors, on the other hand, may appear sleeker and more minimalist. Consider the aesthetic appeal you desire for your gym space when choosing the mirror thickness.
For a home gym, you should go for mirrors that are at least 5 mm thick. If that’s too expensive, 3 mm is cheaper but can handle very little impact.
4. Size and placement of Gym Mirrors
Floor-to-ceiling mirrors or even full wall-covering mirrors are nice but not necessary for a home gym. For a home workout room, 5’-6’ feet tall and 3’-4’ wide mirrors are plenty big enough.
It’s not necessary to have a mirror that goes all the way to the floor, it’s better to leave some space for safety. You can mount the bottom of the mirror 24” from the floor. Because of how light works, this will show you your whole body if combined with a 5’-6’ tall mirror.
A mirror 36” wide (without seams) is recommended 48” is better. That way you can see the whole width of your body even with the arms stretched to the side.
Commercial gyms have very large mirrors because there are multiple people in many different spots that want to see themselves. In a home gym you’re usually alone so it’s not necessary to have such a large amount of mirrors but if you have the budget, covering a whole wall looks great and doesn’t hurt anything.
5. Mirror Safety and Durability
I already touched on this point a little by mentioning safety and tempered glass above but it’s worth carefully thinking about.
Choosing tempered glass mirrors is the best for most workout rooms and here’s why;
In a workout room, you’re moving weights and yourself around. There is a chance you will hit the mirror and normal glass shatters into very sharp shards easily. I don’t think I have to explain how that can lead to very dangerous situations. If you are very sure you’ll never hit the mirror, you can save some money by buying standard glass mirrors but be careful.
Going for tempered glass mirrors (preferably with safety backing) means that the glass is harder to break and if it breaks, it breaks into smaller less dangerous pieces. It is a bit more expensive though.
Acrylic or polycarbonate mirror panels are very hard to break and don’t shatter at all but the reflection is not as sharp as standard or tempered glass. However, while they are hard to break, they can scratch easily and be damaged by certain cleaning chemicals. So in the end they might not actually last longer than glass.
If your home gym is in the garage, I would definitely go for safety mirrors just because there are even more things happening in a garage that can damage mirrors easily.
6. Reflective Quality Of Gym Mirrors
Gym mirrors are not different than normal mirrors. They should reflect reality as accurately as possible. You don’t want any distortions.
Standard glass and tempered glass mirrors are going to provide the best reflection with the fewest distortions and are the best option for workout mirrors.
Acrylic and polycarbonate often have way more distortions in them that can be distracting during a workout. If for some reason (weight, price) you really want this type of mirror in your workout room, be aware of the limitations.
Tiles will create many distortions on the seams. That means it’s not a great way to create a mirror for a workout room.
As a side note, you might feel the mirrors in a commercial gym are different than your bathroom mirror. This is more than likely not the case. The mirrors are the same however, the lighting is likely different which makes you look different. You’re also at a different distance from the mirror which makes you look different.
7. Gym Aesthetics
Think about what the mirror you pick does to the interior of your workout room.
You might not think that’s important but it’s not just the look of the mirror that is important. (Frameless mirrors mostly look the same anyways) You can make your gym look very different by placing mirrors in different spots. It’s also worth thinking about glare from the sun/lights and how that impacts your workouts.
Don’t get me wrong, the functionality is the most important aspect but if you’ve got a choice where to place the mirrors, they can make your gym look much bigger while not letting reflections blind you.
Also, if you have the money to do whole wall mirrors in the right spot, it’s going to make your gym look way more spacious than it is. A whole wall covered in mirrors also looks a lot cleaner.
In very compact home gyms you won’t have much choice of where to put the mirrors but it’s worth thinking about.